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TIMING INFORMATION TOPIC Title - World Water Resources The Middle East - Water Wars China - The Impact of Dams Australia - Water & the Environment End Titles
WORLD WATER RESOURCES - FACTS
• Water covers 71% of the earth’s surface. Of this amount: 93% is in the oceans 2.5% lies in underground aquifers 2% is in ice caps 2.5% is available freshwater that we can use. • Global water consumption has risen 6 fold since 1900. • Each Australian household uses around 700L of water a day. • The UN predicts that 1/3 of the world’s population currently lives in countries already experiencing moderate to high water stress. This is measured by each country’s ratio of water consumption to water availability – its use-toresource index which gauges overall pressure on water resources. Moderate to high stress translates to consumption levels that exceed 20% of available supply. UN predicts that this figure could rise to 2/3 in the next 30 years. • Developing nations are particularly vulnerable to water scarcity as in addition to high water stress, they have little money to implement sustainable practices, technologies, or pay high water pricing schemes. (Source: UNEP World Resources Institute – Sustainable Development Information Service)
WORLD WATER RESOURCES
This video provides an overview of the global geographic issue of access to fresh water. It investigates: - the social and ecological dimensions of the issue - different approaches to management of fresh water (at various scales) - conflict within and between communities - implications for social justice and equity The video includes an introductory section that provides facts about global water resources – availability, distribution and consumption. Then the video examines issues surrounding access to fresh water, through three sample studies in the Middle East, China, and Australia. The conclusion discusses challenges for the future.
Duration: 22 min Years: 9-12
THE MIDDLE EAST – WATER WARS
Throughout the Middle East, water demand is expected to exceed availability in the near future. This region is characterized by: • Growing population • Existing religious and political tension • Geographical concentration of population through urbanization • High predominance of agriculture as major water user (up to 90% in some countries) • Rapidly developing industry and agriculture • Heavy reliance on aquifers/groundwater In Qatar, the absence of permanent surface water means agriculture is entirely dependent on irrigation from pumped groundwater. It is estimated that Qatar aquifers will be depleted in 20 to 30 years time. Pollution is also a problem - in Syria insufficient sewage disposal systems, and industrial waste dumping, have damaged all major river basins. But chronic water shortages in the region have resulted in the development of technological solutions – such as Israel’s pressure, or drip, irrigation. All of Israel’s irrigated areas now use this method which has reduced water consumption per unit of land by 50-70%. Israel also has over 30 desalinisation facilities, mostly in the Eilat area, which use osmosis to treat brackish water. Half of Eilat’s water needs are supplied by desalinization. (Source: UN FAO)
CHINA – THE THREE GORGES DAM
The Yangtze River is China’s longest river, and the third greatest river in the world after the Nile and Amazon. It is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes – it’s deep waters allow ships to reach Wuhan, which is 1,100 km upriver from the coast. The Yangtze River and Three Gorges have great importance to Chinese culture, inspiring literature, art and folklore through the ages, and linked to many historical events, customs and myths. But during the monsoon rains in summer, tributaries swell and can create severe floods. Flooding along the Yangtze has claimed over 500,000 lives this...
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